I remember when I ran my first marathon...it was the LA Marathon. I remember how nervous I was about running such a long distance and rightly so, the Marathon is not for the unprepared. Show up on race day without proper training and experience and you will suffer. Back then I didn't know too much about anything really, not that I know so much now but I knew less, especially about running supplements. I was such a noob, I even wore makeup to that first marathon. What? Oh yes I did! At that first marathon, I recall that around mile 15, I had the worse calf cramps ever. The drama queen in me thought I was going to die. There was little I could do to relieve the tightness and pain and for awhile as I sat there on the curb, I thought about throwing in the towel. There might have been a couple of tears of disappointment but eventually I got up and finished that thing. But it was not easy. I mean..15 miles was really good for me back then, quiting was an option for me. I guess you can say that I came to that race really under-trained. I don't know what I was thinking. I guess what you don't know, can't hurt you, until race day. Please don't make that mistake, it's awful! I wish at that time, I had known about salt tabs and maybe trained a lot more. Well, it has been 4 years since that first marathon and I've ran eight of them since. Along the way, I've picked up a few tricks to help make my marathon training and race day better. Things such as glide, GUs and salt tabs. This post is mainly about salt tabs, even though I tend to ramble and am really good with digressions.
I've only ever used 2 types of salt supplements, Endurolytes and SaltStick. I know there are a lot of options out there but I've only tried these two. SaltStick is a really good product and I'm not being paid to say this. I'm just a big fan. I use to use Endurolyte for my running salt needs but since I've discovered SaltStick, I haven't looked back. Why? Because you use so much less of the SaltStick capsules. I use to have to carry so many of the Endurolytes. You can take 1 capsule of the SaltStick per hour of active sweating versus 2-4 of the Endurolyte. They basically work the same but I like carrying only a couple of capsules versus a handful of them, which was what I use to do. This stuff works great on really hot days when you are sweating like a pig and therefore losing a lot of salt and minerals from your body. This stuff works for legs cramps at night. I use to get them for some reason and be awaken in the middle of the night with awful leg cramps. I use to have to hop out of bed and stand on the cramping leg to make it go way. Painful! Needless to say, it was difficult to fall asleep after that. Then the tight calf muscle would hang around for days and felt like a bruise. And I took salt caps for this and it worked.
I still get cramps during marathons but mostly is it due to going out to fast or not training enough. This stuff helps but it is not a mircle pill. You still need to train adequately and pace yourself.